Teen charged as adult in stabbing rampage at Pa. high school

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MURRYSVILLE, Penn. — A teenage boy wielding two kitchen knives went on a stabbing rampage at his high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, early Wednesday, before being tackled by an assistant principal, authorities said.

Twenty students and a security officer at Franklin Regional Senior High School were injured in the attack, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told reporters.

The accused attacker has been identified as 16-year-old Alex Hribal, according to a criminal complaint obtained by CNN. Hribal, who was arraigned as an adult, faces four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds, the documents show.

A doctor who treated six of the victims, primarily teens, said at first they did not know they had been stabbed.

“They just felt pain and noticed they were bleeding,” Dr. Timothy VanFleet, chief of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told CNN.

“Almost all of them said they didn’t see anyone coming at them. It apparently was a crowded hallway and they were going about their business, and then just felt pain and started bleeding.”

Hribal is accused of using two 8-inch stainless-steel knives in the attack, according to the complaint. He is being held without bail at the Westmoreland County Regional Youth Services Center.

‘Don’t know what I got going down’

The carnage began shortly before the start of classes, when an attacker began stabbing students in a crowded hallway and then went from classroom to classroom.

Student Matt DeCesare was outside the school when he heard a fire alarm ring and then saw two students come out of the school covered in blood.

Then he saw teachers running into the building and pulling “a couple of more students out,” he told CNN. The students had been stabbed.

To stanch the bleeding, the teachers asked the students for their hoodies.

“We all took our hoodies off and handed them to the teachers to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding,” he said.

Recordings of emergency calls released in the wake of the attack provide a soundtrack of sorts to the terror and chaos that played out inside the school.

“I don’t know what I got going down at school here but I need some units here ASAP,” one officer can be heard saying.

Minutes later in another call, another official, breathlessly, can be heard detailing casualties: “About 14 patients right now.”

Then another call for help. “Be advised inside the school we have multiple stab victims,” one of the officers said. “So bring in EMS from wherever you can get them.

‘Saw the kid who stabbing people’

Student Mia Meixner was standing at her locker.

“I heard a big commotion like behind my back,” she told CNN. “And I turned around and I saw two kids on the ground.”

She thought a fight had broken out, but then she saw blood.

“I saw the kid who was stabbing people get up and run away,” she said.

Then she saw a girl she knew standing by the cafeteria. “She was gushing blood down her arm.”

Meixner dropped her books and went to help the girl.

“I started hearing a stampede of students coming down from the other end of the hall, saying ‘Get out, we need to leave, go, there’s a kid with a knife.’ Then a teacher came over to me and the girl I was trying to help. And she said she would handle the girl and that I should run out. So then I just ran out of the school and tried to get out as soon as possible.”

Meixner never heard the attacker utter a word.

“He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it,” she said. “And he had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy and he was just running around just stabbing whoever was in his way.”

She said she didn’t know the boy, but he had been in a lot of her classes. “He kept to himself a lot,” she said. “He didn’t have that many friends that I know of, but I also don’t know of him getting bullied that much. I actually never heard of him getting bullied. He just was kind of shy and didn’t talk to many people.”

Tackled by an assistant principal

Assistant Principal Sam King is being credited with bringing the carnage to an end.

King tackled the teen, Peck told reporters. A school resource officer was able to handcuff the suspect, Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said.

The accused teen was being treated for injuries to his hands, the chief said.

Police Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, who also serves as a resource officer at the school, helped subdue the suspect, said Dan Stevens, the county deputy emergency management coordinator. Yakshe is “doing fine,” Stevens said. “He’s more upset than anything else over what happened, because these are his kids.”

A fire alarm that was pulled during the attack probably helped get more people out of the school during an evacuation order, Seefeld said. Students were running everywhere and there was “chaos and panic.”

At one point, a female student applied pressure to the wounds of one of the male victims, possibly helping to save his life, said Dr. Mark Rubino, chief medical officer at Forbes Regional Hospital in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania, where seven teens were taken for treatment.

The students who were hurt range in age from 14 to 17, Stevens said. All of the injuries are stabbing-related, such as lacerations or punctures, he said.

‘It doesn’t happen here’

The attack in Murrysville is the latest in a string of school violence that has occurred across the nation. But mass stabbings, such as the one at the high school, are rare.

The attack has rattled the town, an upper-middle-class enclave with a population of about 20,000.

A message on the Franklin Regional School District’s website said all of its elementary schools were closed after the incident, and “the middle school and high school students are secure.”

Franklin Regional Senior High will be closed “over the next several days,” district school Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said. The district’s middle school and elementary schools will be open Thursday, and counseling will be available for the whole district, he said.

Information on what led to the stabbings and the conditions of the injured are still unfolding.

On Wednesday morning, students were being released to their parents, Stevens said.

Bill Rehkopf, a KDKA radio host and Franklin Regional High School graduate, called the stabbing shocking.

He said he kept thinking, “It doesn’t happen here, it can’t happen here.”


  • common sense

    It’s not about the guns, or the knives, or the weapons. It’s about getting help for these kids before they need a weapon.

  • Sniper762mm

    I can see it now. 5 day waiting period for all new purchases of knives, all knives over 5″ in length are now classified as “assault knives”, no house hold may have over 6 knives, all multiple knife purchases must be report to law enforcement, to carr a pocket knife you must have a concealed carry knife permir, to purchase a knife yoiu have to have a knife purchase permit from the Sheriff or your county, all “assualt knife purchases must be recorded on the Bureau of Knives, Razors, Box Cutters, and Other Sharp Objects (BKRBOSO) Form 4473, must be 21 years of age to purchase or possess a knife, and all “assualt knives” must be registered with law enforcement no later than 4 July.

    • nurse one

      I do agree. After the big influx of all these pills to help everyone feel better, we see more craziness. Just an observation. Some it does help…Well, I will just leave it at that. I don’t think my other comment went through, but Will, well said, there is something definately wrong.

  • amazedatthenews

    I’m am so disgusted to see what has happened to the school system, but even more disappointed at the law makers inability to protect our kids. The truth is that these “gun free” “safe zones” are a bunch of bulk and troubled youths know it. Keep letting the liberals run things and see where it gets us. Its time to provide a real plan of protection to schools nation wide. The NRA has come up with some good ideas, but anti gun people hate guns so much they’re willing to put everybody in jeopardy. Its time to put armed guards at every school and deter this kind of nonsense. What we’ve been DOI g is NOT WORKING!!!

    • JT

      So, your solution to over-use of weapons is…more weapons. Brilliant. By that logic, the only problem a cocaine addict has is not having more cocaine…

      • targetsacquired

        Ive been watching my weapons all morning….not a one has given any inclination of wanting to go on a shooting or cutting spree….
        None of my service vehicles has gone and hit anyone head on….

        Realize the problem isnt the weapon…..its the PERSON behind it.

        Schools are full of weapons and every child/young adult has at least one deadly weapon in his possession at all times…..a pencil. Lets ban those too.

  • Jackie

    Guards really! A troubled kid got that way before he arrived at the school to do harm to others. Hurt people hurt people! So many people addicted to alcohol and drugs that they have no idea what’s going on in the child’s life. And some parents have kids without any idea how to rear a child! We don’t need to put a bandaid on the problem, we need a solution!

    • targetsacquired

      There were six SROs in the school at the time….really worked well didnt it?

      The question should be, why didnt anyone other than a principal go after the kid?
      Schools are full of defensive weapons…are our kids really being turned into sheep? The answer is yes.

  • Catina Galloway

    I think what is the most troubling in this whole situation is that, YOU (those of you who have commented.) are more concerned with guns and knife accessibility than you are about the children that were hurt. @sniper762, I wonder if you would be so sarcastic if it was your child, brother, or yourself who was hurt or killed. The fact is that there is no policy that everybody would be completely happy with. The sad thing is that we can’t be more concerned about the children than our stinking opinion about policy or access to weapons. I often wonder what type of human beings we have created that walk around with a superior attitude actually believing that they have all the answers and that they always do the right things. It makes me sick!

    • Will Grant

      You obviously don’t pay much attention to the mainstream media who also emphasize the weapons involved as opposed to the victims. You overlook it because you agree with them. Your perspective reflects exactly what is wrong with this country.

  • Queen Bee

    I think its very easy to make snarky little comments when it isn’t your children who are stabbed or shot. My heart goes out to these people. I’m glad this kid didn’t have a gun. How many more deaths do you think there would have been?

  • Anthony

    It is a terrible thing for sure & I can’t imagine going through that but with that being said, this is all too common these days. To sit around & put up signs & give little Timmy therapy ain’t working. I think its time to arm the teachers if they choose to carry. One armed guard per school is not going to do it. It might even make some of these bad kids behave a little better knowing their teacher is carrying. I hate to break it to all you Kool-Aid drinkers but believe it or not, there are crazy people out there everyday waiting for their oppurtunity to strike, however that may be. I can guarantee that that sign that your school has in the front yard is NOT going to stop ANYONE that has ill intent. Wether they are mad at a bully or mad at their parents or whatever? The best defense is self defense. Like the old saying goes ” it’s better to have a gun & not need it than to need a gun & not have it”.

  • Theresa

    That is a very sad statement. We live in a society where pills cure everything, media hype keeps us going and reality tv shows dictate how cool cruelty is! The problem is people need to do more for and with each other to better social skills. As a whole society uses too many shortcuts to be social and blames problems on other things instead of solving them. A text or twitter is better than calling and getting together. Being social now means who can make the most money, party on the newest drug and make fun of the things that make us unique and beautiful! We are becoming more accepting of any drug wether it is from a doctor or misguided money maker on the streets. We accept violence in any form from gaming, to tv and in our streets. We need to wake up and help this community and our own everywhere. what happened to looking out for our neighborhoods, churches, and the ones no one ever pays attention to. Sorry to say the answer is not more guns and violence. Our past generations raised better and more mature respectful children that the current. There is a whole new battle out there for our future generations. Its time to change!

  • FaithC

    If someone wants to cause harm they will. The laws do not matter to these people. They WILL get a weapon and they will cause as much injury as they can.
    I am glad nobody has died and I hope all recover quickly.

  • amazedatthenews

    People can argue till they re blue in the face about how society hs changed, AND IT HAS, but continuing to do the same old thing is not working. There should be armed guards, and there should be metal detectors. Its ok for the airport but not for our kids??? Those who argue otherwise are straight hypocrites plain and simple.

  • joe012

    If a Buick would have been used there would have probably been deaths too. The problem is not the weapon used, it is the person using it.

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